Attorney General Mark Herring

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) addresses a roundtable in Leesburg in 2018.

Couples planning to get married in the state will no longer have to disclose their race on their marriage application, Virginia’s attorney general said.

Clerks were notified of the change in an email late Friday, about a week after three couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state requirement, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported .

“These changes will ensure that no Virginian will be forced to label themselves in order to get married,” Herring said in a statement to the newspaper Friday. “I appreciate the courage these couples showed in raising this issue, and I wish them all the best in their lives together.”

In a memorandum to Janet Rainey, director and state registrar of the Division of Vital Records, Herring wrote that circuit court clerks, by law, must ask people seeking a marriage license their race, but he said couples can decline to answer the question. Clerks should issue a marriage license regardless of whether an applicant answers the question, Herring said.

The Division of Vital Records has revised the marriage certificate form so couples know they are free to decline to answer the question.

The lawsuit said one Virginia county provided a list of more than 200 potential races to a couple that questioned the requirement. It included “American,” ″Aryan,” ″Moor” and “Mulatto.”

Civil-rights lawyer Victor Glasberg, who had filed the lawsuit, said Virginia was one of only eight states requiring marriage applicants to disclose their race.

(9) comments


Funny how white people cant see nonsense sitting right in front of them. Oh I guess when you can write down white you say what’s the problem.

More Cowbell

Thanks to Warren, I always claim Native American because my DNA showed I have 1/516.


Isn't that about the same as saying you have bone spurs to avoid the draft?

More Cowbell

Race and sex are collected so that the govt can collect data to profile everyone.


The molehill has been discovered!

Chris McHale

While I agree with this decision I have to wonder if something happened recently they would cause him to change this ridiculous requirement considering he's been the AG since 2014.


They were denied licenses because they refused to answer the question. They were given a list of 230 terms to choose from to identify their race, which included outdated terms "mulatto," and "quadroon". One person couldn't even find a race that fit them.


Why didn't they just put down a question mark??? Or, "Don't know".


Marv, the computer would only accept an answer from a list that they had on file.

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